PHILIP GLASS TOUR SHOWCASES TREND OF CROSS-STATE COLLABORATION BETWEEN IOWAN ARTS ORGANIZATIONS
IOWA CITY, IA – Renowned minimalist composer Philip Glass will tour Iowa in the first week of April 2014 with a series of performances made possible through the cross-state collaborative efforts of The Englert Theatre, Luther College, Civic Music Association and the Iowa Presenters Network. Glass, who has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times, will perform works on solo piano in Iowa City (Mission Creek Festival/The Englert Theatre – April 3), Decorah (Luther College’s Center Stage Series – April 4), and Des Moines (Civic Music Association at Sheslow Auditorium – April 6).
Bringing a legendary artist such as Glass – who is known for his operas including “Einstein on the Beach,” “Satyagraha,” “Akhnaten,” and “The Voyage,” symphonies, compositions for his own ensemble, and wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg – to Iowa is often marred with logistical and financial difficulties. Thus, Glass’ April 2014 tour was successfully orchestrated via a team effort between three leaders of Iowan arts organizations: Civic Music Association Executive Director Carrie Clogg, Luther College Director of Campus Programming Tanya Gertz and Englert Theatre/Mission Creek Executive Director André Perry.
“It’s good to know that you have allies across the state,” said Perry. “Philip Glass was a dream project for us at Mission Creek and the Englert and we were enthused to find out that other people also shared that dream.”
The idea began in late 2012 when Perry and Mission Creek Festival Associate Director of Programming Chris Wiersema envisioned the possibility of Glass perform at The Englert Theatre for Iowa City’s annual Mission Creek Festival. Although Glass’ management was open to the idea, it became clear that such a performance couldn’t be financially supported by one organization.
Looking for partners, Perry turned to the Iowa Presenters Network, a consortium of performing arts presenters culled from all geographic regions of the state and representative of both smaller non-profit arts organizations as well as bigger nonprofits and university-affiliated presenters. The project immediately drew interest and support from Gertz at Luther and Clogg at Civic Music. Returning to Glass’ management in early 2013 with firm support from these other Iowa presenters, Perry secured a commitment for the composer to visit and perform in Iowa over the course of a week in 2014.
“Without the cooperation and collaboration between arts organizations involved in the Iowa Presenters Network, world-renowned artists like Philip Glass may not have the opportunity to perform in Iowa,” said Clogg. “Civic Music Association is proud to be a part of an organization dedicated to partnering together to make sure Iowans have access to exceptional art.”
This collaboration between the three presenters is indicative of the emerging trend of teamwork between many Iowa-based presenters in the Iowa Presenters Network. Several programs have benefited the state as a whole in recent years as programmers and executive directors from arts organizations have reached out for partners across the state. For example, in 2012, Jacob Yarrow from Hancher engineered a plan to tour the Haitian musical group, Ti-Coca, across the state of Iowa. The success of that program lay in Yarrow’s leadership and the strong partnership with presenters across the state of Iowa. With increased meetings and conversation between the state’s presenters, the hope is that there will be more beneficial collaborations in the future.
“If we were to go about this all alone, opportunities like Philip Glass in Iowa would not be possible,” said Gertz of Luther.
The Englert Theatre is a community arts center and performance space that enhances the vitality of Iowa City’s historic downtown as its last historic theater. The Englert Theatre provides diverse programming, educational opportunities and exposure to the performing and visual arts. The organization strives to highlight the talents of local performers, artists and ensembles as well as hosting regional, national and international touring performances.